It’s difficult to stop smiling after a media conference involving Dallas Eakins–he’s another MacT in that the strength and reason of the words shine bright against the backdrop of abject failure the recent past. Shine on, Dallas Eakins, shine on.
HOW TO DEAL WITH IDIOTS
If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that we’re devoted to the idea that the best way to counter intimidation and physical play is with goals and wins. Ales Hemsky spent a decade being the roadkill to Robyn Regehr’s Mack truck–with Steve MacIntyre nearby on the bench getting a good view. Countering thugs and hoods with thugs and hoods means the skill players are on the ice less, and the point of the game–winning–becomes secondary. This does NOT mean I’m in favor of the Oilers representing road kill every night. It does NOT mean I’m hoping Sam Gagner gets his teeth knocked out every night. It DOES mean that there is a more effective way to counter the problem with the hoods, and Dallas Eakins gets it. Man, does he get it.
- Dallas Eakins on thugs, dolts and pond scum: “Hockey gets to be a tough game some nights, I did like our response, Brownie was good the one time. I think it was Wiese who was trying to get to Khaira and Perron jumped in. You don’t want just one guy to look after that, you need a big scrum. If one guy is getting pushed around, you want all 5 guys in there, I thought we responded well. The great thing for me in tonight’s game was they can run all they want, we were able to draw a lot of powerplays, I was fine with the game in that department anyway.”
Look, I know it’s a tough item to watch these kids get run over. However–unlike the Oilers in the ’00s when Hemsky had little help–this Oiler team is going to skewer opposition with a powerplay that will end coaching careers and send more “stick optional” dunce caps back to the minors than Carter has liver pills. Seriously. They send one of our guys to the hospital? Let Yakupov rip a slapper off some guy’s thigh and pot a goal–at some point, by the time the other team is on their second or third coach, the message will get through–don’t take penalties against the Edmonton Oilers, coach doesn’t like Peoria!
THINGS CAN GET BETTER
Eakins was on fire after the game, some of his quotes were outstanding. Here’s a review:
- Eakins on Belov: “I thought he’d probably have an off night and he didn’t, I thought he was solid. We’re going to have to play him a fair amount without killing him, first impression was okay.”
- Eakins on acquiring Perron: “Boy I think we got a lot. We’ve got a guy who can score, competes hard, he’s not afraid to get his nose dirty, we’ve let him loose on the penalty kill a little as well, I think we’ve got a well rounded player.”
- Eakins on Ryan Hamilton and Will Acton: “They’ve come as advertised, hard working, gritty, they’ll continue to claw and fight for a spot.”
- Eakins on Yakupov: “The kid is so much fun to watch play, when he gets the puck everyone moves forward in their seat.”
It kind of makes you want to cry. A few short years ago, we were hearing this from the head coach:
- Pat Quinn: “Like the last one in the second period, our defenceman chased up too high. They know that he’s not supposed to go there, but he got himself out of whack, bang, and it’s down out in front and they’ve got a two-on-one and our front defenceman looked like Barbara Ann Scott on it.”
Just to update, Lubomir Visnovsky is now 37 and remains an NHL player, while Quinn most recently was heard on Vancouver radio telling the world Rob Schremp was a better plan than Sam Gagner. Le sigh.
I’M IN HEAVEN!
- Eakins on Hemsky: “Ales has been unbelieveable. He has been an absolute pleasure, to coach so far. We’ve had a lot of conversations, I explained to him what I expect of him, he said absolutely. He’s been outstanding in every game he’s played–I’m not even talking about the plays he’s making with the puck, I’m talking about his back pressure, his penalty killing, his commitment to defense. This guy is on! I’m so glad he’s an Edmonton Oiler, if he can continue this he’s going to have a great season for us.”
I’ll leave you with a quote (I think this is the direct quote) from my favorite movie:
- Ellis Boy “Red” Redding: “Andy Dufresne, the man who crawled through 500 yards of shit and came out clean the other end.”
I am so happy with this hockey club this morning.